A s you all know, a few weeks ago I paid another visit to Jane Austen’s House Museum.
This is always a treat, but this autumn, which has been long and very beautiful, it was an extra special time to pay a visit to the stunning Hampshire scenery of the countryside around Chawton.
The autumnal colours of the gently rolling and wooded Hampshire countryside ( while nothing to the colours of a New England autumn ) were very lovely this year. I’ve written about the interior of the house before, so I thought this time I’d share with you my photographs of the garden. As some of you already know, I’m a very keen gardener,and, in fact, began my blogging life with a garden blog, so I always enjoy sitting and looking at this small but beautifully in-keeping and well-tended space.
The garden is to the left and to the rear of the house. On leaving the house the garden beckons, the last roses in bloom around the door invite you to wander…
The day I visited an autumnal cleaning up of the garden was taking place.
I like to see the garden actually being tended and used on a visit: it brings it alive.
The Austen ladies had a view of the garden from the ground floor of the house: the Gothic window on the garden side of the house was opened up and installed for them. You can see it on the left of the house, below.
The old drawing-room window was blocked up before they arrived to take possession of the house..
Chawton Cottage was of course, part of Edward Austen Knight’s Chawton estate and it was due to his beneficence that from 1809, the Austen ladies finally lived in a settled home.
The garden is not now how it was when the Austen ladies lived there, but care is taken by the Museum to try to include only plants that would have been available to them.
The view from the house looks out onto an oak tree surrounded by a Regency style tree seat. This is in fact a seedling from a tree that was originally planted by the Austen ladies when they took possession of Chawton Cottage. Two trees were planted by the wall that forms the boundary of the garden and the road.
These have now been felled due to disease,but Elizabeth Bowden, who was the then curator of the museum on the 1980s, found a seedling from one of the trees near the wall and replanted it here. It is an English oak-Quercus ruber.
A display of plants used in the dying process is also near to the house…
Onions grown for their skins….wihch produce a yellow or rust coloured dye.
Tickseed… which produces a yellow, green or rust coloured dye..
and Madder..which prduces a red dye.
In keeping with the pre-Victorian theme of the garden, the planting includes such cottage garden stalwarts as hollyhock , below…
and fuchsia. Fuchsia magellanica, below, was first introduced into England in 1788,
so it is entirely plausible that such a plant might have grown in the Austen ladies garden.
To the rear of the garden the herbaceous border sweeps round and on the lawn there is always plenty of comfortable seating.
This is a smashing position in which to sit in the summer. Quite often the number of summer visitors to the small house can be rather overwhelming, and it is good to sit here in the garden and take stock.
The beech hedge divides the public from the working part of the garden.
To the rear of the house is a great yew tree, which must surely date from at last the time of the house. At this time of year the red fruits of the yew are very visible
Hers is a very short video of the garden. You will be pleased to note I am taking delivery of a MUCH better camera this week and so, on my next visit, the photographs and videos(especially the videos!) will be of a much higher quality. If only the operator were more talented ;)
So that’s it : a short autumnal visit to the garden at Chawton Cottage, Jane Austen’s much-loved Chawton home.
I do hope you have enjoyed it .